Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has named former Sen. Jon Kyl to fill the U.S. Senate seat left open by the death of Sen. John McCain.
Kyl, who served in the Senate for 18 years, will fly later Tuesday to Washington, D.C. Kyl retired from the Senate in January of 2013 and was at one point in his career the second-highest ranking Republican senator when he served as Senate minority whip.
He has been in Washington recently, leading President Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, through the confirmation process. Kavanaugh's first day of hearings began Tuesday morning.
According to The Arizona Republic, Kyl has agreed to serve through the end of the year. If he decides not to return after the first of the year, Ducey would have to appoint another replacement.
I am deeply grateful to Senator Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and colleague of so many years. Every single day that Jon Kyl represents #Arizona in the U.S. Senate is a day our state is well-served. #KylforAZ #KavanaughConfirmation https://t.co/e6zHvEOk5O— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) September 4, 2018
In a tweet, McCain's widow, Cindy, said that "Jon Kyl is a dear friend of mine and John’s. It’s a great tribute to John that he is prepared to go back into public service to help the state of Arizona.”
Kyl was first elected to the Senate in 1995. He was a member of the U.S. House for 12 years prior to his election to the Senate.
According to the New York Times, Kyl, 76, has indicated he would be willing to consider remaining in the Senate until 2020, when a special election will be held to fill McCain's unexpired term. He said he would not run for the seat after that time.
The Times also reported that Kyl, who has been a lobbyist at the firm of Covington & Burling, would announce he is cutting ties with his clients there as he returns to the Senate.
According to the company's website, Kyl "advises companies on domestic and international policies that influence U.S. and multi-national businesses and assists corporate clients on tax, healthcare, defense, national security and intellectual property matters among others.
Doug Cole, a veteran Republican consultant and former McCain aide, told The Associated Press that Kyl was a good pick.
“I think McCain would be very happy with the pick. Honors his legacy while putting some major horsepower for Arizona in the seat, at least for now,” Cole said.
Kyl sat on the Senate Finance Committee and was the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. He also chaired the Senate Republican Policy Committee and the Senate Republican Conference.
He is married and has two children.
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